Social networking media can be overwhelming and confusing to today’s parents. Do they bring families closer together or are they a bane to healthy relationships between parents and children?
Good vs. Bad – Social Media and Its Consequences Facebook’s benefits are obvious to long-time users: it helps them stay in touch with family and friends, even those who have gone abroad or are too busy to meet face-to-face. It allows members to reconnect through sharing photos, playing games, public ‘wall’ messages, status updates and other virtual activities (Have you Poked someone today?). Twitter is similar – in spite of its 140 character limit, Twitterers can share information on the fly such as traffic and weather updates, weblinks, bargains (50% off at Zara until next week!), movie reviews (Transformers – whaa--?) and of course, personal messages to each other and to their followers. To put it simply, Twitter allows you to text the world and the world can text you back.
The advantages to this kind of technology are enormous, however, there are pitfalls to consider. Online activities of this sort are enjoyable to the point that they can become addictive – a whole unproductive day, even weeks can go fallow with one’s eyes glued to the screen, reading and commenting on every wall post, or playing engaging games such as CityVille or Mafia Wars. Another aspect is the permanence of posted data – you and your child have to exercise prudence in what you post in Twitter or Facebook because once that unflattering photo or angry post has been sent, it can remain there indefinitely, or worse, recopied and posted in hundreds of other websites, as proven by such reprobates as Anthony Wiener and Carolyn Bourne (Google them for your entertainment and horror).
A social disconnect also occurs when too much time is spent on social media. It’s so easy to ‘Friend’ someone like a classmate or a colleague at work. Teenagers ‘Friend’ hundreds or even thousands of people, many they’ve never even seen in person. The lines of relationships start to blur and the definition of ‘friend’ becomes much more superficial.